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Feng Lin: Ion Reactions to Modulate Solid-State Electrochemistry for Batteries and Electrocatalysis
Ion reactions offer a huge playground for tuning the electronic and crystal properties of inorganic solids for energy applications. Our research focuses on resolving a longstanding question in materials electrochemistry regarding redox active solids: how does the mesoscale chemical distribution influence ion reactions at different length scales? Through manipulating the thermodynamics and kinetics of the ion intercalation chemistry, our goal is to develop experimental methodologies and establish novel design principles to enhance the electrochemical properties of ion-intercalating solids for batteries and electrocatalysis. Our studies are largely facilitated by synchrotron X-ray spectroscopic and imaging techniques that provide fundamental insights into intercalation chemistries. In this presentation, we will first highlight our recent progress in understanding and improving electrode materials for lithium and sodium batteries. We design novel synthetic approaches to overcome the surface challenges of oxide cathode materials for high energy density, high power density and long cycle life. Then, we will discuss how we make use of interfacial ion reactions to modulate the electronic properties of water splitting electrocatalysts. We will highlight that tailoring the phase segregation at the catalyst-electrolyte interface constitutes a large space for stabilizing catalytic activity.